5 Tips for Throwing A Laid­-Back Summer Soiree

​Essentials tips to help you pull off a killer summer fête.

Beyond balmy temps, sunshine and that little thing called summer vacation, one of the things we look forward to most when the warm weather rolls around is the slew of easy­-going get-togethers that dominate our social calendars. Good vibes, great company and ah­-mazing food — what's not to love? It's the simplicity and carefree feel of these summer soirees that we crave all year long. Here, we're taking you through a few simple tips and tricks for throwing the perfect fuss­-free gathering season. Warning: Your home just might become the go­-to spot.

  1. Get Your Buds on Board

    friends in backyard
    Photo by Warren Goldswain

    You might be hosting, but that doesn't mean you have to take on all the work. Set an ultra casual tone by doing things potluck style, asking your family and friends to bring a favorite homemade dish to your get­-together or pitch in with a few must­-have supplies (think: napkins, dishes, drinks, etc.). Have fun with it and choose a theme, or have your crew get competitive and vote for their favorite dessert or main dish. Whatever you decide, emphasize dishes that need minimal day-­of prep to keep things simple for your and your guests.​

  2. Be Prepared

    food prep
    Photo by Neustock Images

    ​There's something to be said for thinking ahead. Your summer schedule is jam-­packed with to­ dos and rendez­vous, so do yourself a favor and prepare as much ahead of time as you can. Prep food the day before your fête, and add all the ingredients and other party essentials to your grocery list the week before to make sure you're ready and raring to go. Realizing you're out of pepper or paper towels when you're in the middle of schmoozing and serving is a bonafide bummer. 

  3. Cater to Your Crowd

    Photo by Half Baked Harvest

    ​A party is an example of one time when the concept of less is more doesn't exactly apply. Underestimating the amount of food and drinks you need — running out of either can be a major buzz kill. Obviously, you don't want to over do it either, so consider your crowd. Think about what they like and how much they typically eat or drink. If they're big drinkers, definitely pick up an extra case of beer or two or a few more bottles of wine. If the opposite is the case, make sure to have a few non­-alcoholic drinks on hand as well. Have a large group of guys swinging by? You might want to double up on the burger count (or opt for skewers, like these Hawaiian BBQ Skewers with Sriracha Lime Butter from Half Baked Harvest, which come together in minutes). 

  4. Keep the Decor Fun and Simple

    Photo by Kate Zimmerman via Camilla Styles

    ​A simple backyard bash does not, we repeat — does not, need the attention to detail that a wedding requires. Fresh flowers, understated linens and ambient lighting like bistro lights, candles or lanterns lanterns are enough to add ambience without a lot of fuss. You can even repurpose decor to create an indoor­-outdoor aesthetic with rustic chic appeal. It will achieve the polished-­yet­-casual look you're after, plus it'll come together in mere minutes. And don't worry about matching — eclectic has a more approachable, homespun feel, which goes along perfectly with your no-­frills fiesta. 

  5. Let the Good Times Roll

    lawn games
    Photo by Xavier Arnau

    ​Can it even be considered a party without a few toe-­tapping tunes? Music is a must for any soiree, and your get-­together is no exception. Make a playlist ahead of time, or tune into Pandora, Soundcloud or Spotify, for background music that will help get the party going. Another idea? Lawn games. Whether you grab a few frisbees or set up cornhole, giant Jenga or badminton, games are great way to enliven a party and bring together guests who may not have otherwise mingled.